CM vs. Montgomery County I.U.

This is a redacted version of the original decision. Select details have been removed from the
`decision to preserve anonymity of the student. The redactions do not affect the substance of
the document.

Pennsylvania
Special Education Hearing Officer

FINAL DECISION AND ORDER

Students Name: C.M.

Date of Birth: [redacted]

ODR No. 18243-1617AS

CLOSED HEARING

Parties to the Hearing:

Parent[s]

Montgomery County I.U. #23 2 W. Lafayette Street Norristown, PA 19401

Representative:

Nicole Reimann, Esq.
Batchis Nestle & Reimann, LLC Two Bala Plaza, Ste. 300
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

Heather Matejik, Esq.
Fox Rothschild, LLP
10 Sentry Parkway, Ste. 200 P.O. Box 3001
Blue Bell, PA 19422

Dates of Hearing: 10/24/2016, 11/15/2016, 12/07/16

Date of Decision: 01/11/2017

Hearing Officer: Brian Jason Ford, JD, CHO

Introduction and Procedural History

This special education due process hearing concerns whether the educational rights of a student (the Student) were violated by the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit #23 (the IU). The IU provided special education early intervention services to the Student before the Student reached school age.

The IU conducted a special education evaluation of the Student. The Parents claim that the IU’s evaluation was inappropriate, resulting in both an inappropriate disability classification, and a denial of a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The Parents allege that these actions violate both the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq. They demand compensatory education to remedy the denial of FAPE.

Before the hearing convened, the IU filed a motion to dismiss the Parents’ complaint. While the IU moved to dismiss the complaint in its entirety, the IU primarily sought to limit the scope of this hearing. Ultimately, the IU’s motion was resolved when the parties reached a stipulation on the first day of the hearing. Specifically, the parties agreed that January 5, 2015 was the first day that the Student received services from the IU. The Parents clarified that they are not seeking any remedies accruing prior to January 5, 2015, with the understanding that evidence predating January 5, 2015 was admissible if relevant. NT at 32-33. With this agreement in place, the IU’s motion became moot, and was withdrawn for that reason.

The hearing convened over three full-day sessions. The parties are in agreement that the IU is no longer the Student’s LEA, and that the outcome of this matter has no impact upon the Student’s current receipt of FAPE. These factors were considered when considering and granting the parties’ various scheduling motions.

For reasons set forth below, I find in the Parents’ favor.

Issues

Did the IU deny the Student a FAPE from January 5, 2015, through June 9, 2016, and, if so, what amount of compensatory education is owed as a remedy?1

C-M-Montgomery-County-ODRNo-18243-1617AS

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